Saturday, February 28, 2015


Emergency DHS budget solution right here.


Automotif LXVII

1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible
I was worried about being able to identify the year model, but Oldsmobile thoughtfully changed the taillights every model year between '68 and '72 to make this easier.


Kids sledding at the Stout Field Indiana National Guard Armory during the gun show last weekend.

Pocket Camera...

So, as a big fan of always having a camera with me that's not my cell phone, I've spent the last few years with a succession of tiny digicams, the two most recent being a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 and now a Nikon Coolpix S6500. It was therefore pretty much inevitable that, once I got my toes wet back in the film photography pool, I'd start looking for a little camera to complement the SLRs; something I could one-hand while bicycling on the Monon or dangle from a wrist strap instead of hanging around my neck.

Unlike more substantial SLRs, the vast majority of point-and-shoot 35mm cameras were pretty ephemeral. Whereas a Canon AE-1 was likely to be put in the attic when it was no longer in use, a Snappy 50 was a lot more likely to go in the trash or get handed to the kids to play with. Combine that with the fact that most of these cameras were both highly automated and yet built to a price point, and it makes functioning survivors from the more affordable end of the market scarcer than their vast production numbers and fairly recent chronology would have you believe. The biggest difference between a "single-use camera" and a $50 blister-pack P&S from the early '90s is that the former made no pretenses as to its disposability.

On the other end of the price curve, there are plenty of high-quality small point-'n'-shoot 35s still around, but be ready to do battle with fanbois on eBay, because you will be fighting with film hipsters over pocket jewelry like the Ricoh GR1 or Minolta TC-1.

Contax TVS
The Precious, yes! We wants it, Gollum, and now we has it!
The Kyocera-built Contax minis are right up there, with the least expensive of them being the basic TVS, which can be had for ~$100 with a bit of luck. Given its initial retail price and Porsche Design-influenced titanium curves, this is a relative bargain. The newer TVS II and III will run double or triple the money, but I was plenty happy to score a regular TVS from a seller in Japan.

The TVS is bigger than the diminutive Coolpix, but still tiny compared to an average-sized SLR like the Canon A-1.
Of course, even a small film camera is going to be big compared to a current pocket digital. First, you have to accommodate a 35mm film cartridge and its takeup spool, which sort of dictates your base dimensions. Then you need a battery with enough juice to drive the focusing and film transport motors, and you've got to put that somewhere in the camera. The TVS is small compared with even small film SLRs like the Olympus OM, but compared to the Nikon Coolpix, which will almost rattle around in a cigarette pack, it's a bit large.

Still, I'm looking forward to shooting some film with it, hopefully on warmer days, strolling through the city. (And those looks... I'm not going to even pretend I'm immune to the Contax's pretty face.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

You could break your hip doing that!

When Madonna's debut single came out in 1982, Sammy Davis Jr. was as old as Madonna is right now.

Was thinking about going to the range today...

...and then I took the trash out and felt the weather.

Bugger that. The range can wait 'til Monday.


So, the Subie's clutch issue, a dead slave cylinder, was fixed today for $193 and some-odd cents, including the sixty buck tow. If you're on the north side of Indy, I can't recommend Tyler's Automotive on 62nd highly enough.

The car, which had sat immobile behind the garage for a few weeks of record low temps, including quite a bit of time on the wrong side of 0°F, started on the first turn of the key when the wrecker showed up yesterday. That feat was made more impressive by the fact that it was, you know, in gear at the time.

See, the car was parked perpendicular to the axis of the alley, and to get it onto the flatbed, I needed to get it out of its spot and aligned with the wrecker. Since the clutch pedal was currently for decoration only, I meant to roll it backwards on the starter motor, which is doable, if rough on the starter, but the little motor turned right over and it idled in gear out into the alley. In 15°F weather. After having sat for the fat part of a month.

And it has over 200,000 miles on the clock...

Anyhow, that's got the Forester up and limping around again for the nonce, and none too soon, since we're scheduled to receive more global warming this weekend.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the vehicular happiness index, anybody want to buy a Jeep with a pintle mounted belt-fed Browning? It'd be great for technical rock crawling! Get it? I kill me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

m r geese

Nikon EM, Kodak BW400CN
Geese on the frozen canal in the heart of a Broad Ripple winter.

Seen around Broad Ripple...

Nikon EM, Kodak BW400CN
One of the many night club, bar, and lounge signs that make up the streetscape of Broad Ripple proper.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Cheery Thought...

He may have had to steal the valor...

...but he already had the mendacity.

Seriously, remember the time you accidentally misspoke and told those people about the time you won a medal in the Olympics? Or were a starter for the Lakers? Or swam the Channel?

No? Neither do I.

There are some things that'll just torpedo the credibility of a person in a leadership capacity, and that's one of them, right there.

...but it rhymes.

"Hey, Heinz! Who wants shawarma?"
So, Greece has its economy waiting for the second flush, and they're basically holding the threat of a default to the Eurozone's head and demanding yet another bailout debt forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the Jerry army's in as parlous a state as it's been in since smoke was still rising from the rubble of Berlin, which must make it hard for Angela to run a good bluff in those late night poker games with Czar Vladimir. I mean, according to some sources I've heard, the Ellinikós Stratós actually has more Leopard 2 panzers in commission right now than the Bundeswehr.

"The United States has sent hundreds of military personnel to joint NATO exercises in the Baltics."
LTC Charles B. Smith was unavailable for comment.

the meatening

Canon A1, Ilford FP4 Plus
Kincaid's Meat Market at 56th & Illinois, where the ribbons won by the meat you're eating are hanging on the wall.

My neighbor, who grew up in the neighborhood, says the Starbucks next door used to be a little corner grocery that carried everything but meat. Instead, there was a pass-through between the two shops and, after getting rung up in the grocery, you could push your cart next door into Kincaid's and get your tasty, tasty meat.

EDIT: Bobbi informs me that, between its grocery store days and its current incarnation as a chain coffee joint, it was a Baskin Robbins.

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Special Forces aren't the ones who have to wear helmets all the time, are they?"
I think those are the Very Special Forces.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Canon A1, Ilford FP4 Plus

What color is the sky in his world?

Googling up information on the Steve Malloy incident, which was a sad reminder of the need for a quality holster and why drop safety can be more than an academic concern, I stumbled across this quote at a gun forum specifically for members of the party of Bull Connor*:
"I know we think gun laws in this country are as strict as they have ever been. In reality though, never in the history of this country has gun laws been so lax than they are now."
Wow. Just... wow.

I realize that, taken as a national average, gun laws have loosened from their Peak Draconianism in '95 or so, but in a number of states that represent a large chunk of the nation's population, such as CA, NY, NJ, MA, and CT, they've never been stricter.

It was within my lifetime (albeit barely) that you could order an actual 20mm anti-tank rifle in the mail with less drama than buying a packet of Sudafed today. You're entitled to your own opinions, dude, but not your own facts.
"Be sure to ask your parents first, kids!"

*I kid, I kid... (Mostly.) Even as a wookie-suited little-l libertarian, the mainstream conservative slant of firearms fora can get tiring at times despite a sizeable minority of folks who roughly share my views. I can only imagine what it must be like for a self-identified progressive who is still in favor of the proletariat being armed, whether for self-defense or against the depredations of The Man.

Negative five degrees fondly Fahrenheit...

It's -5°F out there right now, another record daily low in the Circle City. We're supposed get up to the mid twenties, which will feel balmy by comparison. After a week or two of this stuff, anything even one degree above freezing will feel like sunbathing weather.

Atmospherically speaking, the earth's hat has slipped down rakishly over one eye, which is why it's currently twenty below over in New England while the predicted daily highs are 37°F and 50°F for Anchorage and Billings, respectively.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How often do you back up your photos?

See that green stripe? It's not supposed to be there. This photo's only four years old and this is a 3rd generation copy (SD card to old PC hard drive to thumb drive.) Somewhere along the way, it seems to have gotten a little corrupted.

If it's something precious, a hard copy may not be such a bad idea.

On a tangentially-related note, Keads got some >40-year-old 126 negatives printed out, with probably less effort than it would take to get a term paper off a CP/M-formatted 8" floppy these days.


Stayed up late last night keeping an eye on a sick roomie, and consequently slept late this morning.

While the Zed Drei could probably be backed out of the garage with a smidgen of shoveling and driven cautiously out of the alley in a pinch, there was no sense in it since I can walk to the nearest grocery with ease.
I bundled up like Nanuk of the North, grabbed the Nikon N6006, loaded with Tri-X, and set off on foot. The first stop was to get lunch at Sam's Gyros, and thence on to Fresh Market for beverages, both grownup and Temperance.

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of pics come back from the Nikon; this is the first roll I've run through it. (Yes, yes, I'm going to have to settle down and pick a camera or two to work with in the future, but right now I'm still experimenting with all of them to find the ones I really like.)

It would literally be impossible...

...for me to agree with this post more than I already do.

I've been carrying a pistol for most of my adult life. I have lived in three states during that time, one of which had a mandatory training class and qualification course (TN) and two which did not (GA and IN). I have not observed any noticeable difference in the quality of shooting ability, legal knowledge, or safe gun handling among the populations of the three states.

Arguing that there will be blood in the streets if there is no mandatory training is not one bit different, philosophically speaking, than those who say there will be shootouts over parking spaces if we let people carry guns at all. The "blood in the streets" keeps un-happening.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

You know what I hate*?

"Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac..."
I just saw a Kodak Disc camera listed as "vintage" on eBay. Man, that hurt in just all kinds of ways.
Forbes magazine called the disc "a flop — a humiliating Edsel of a product,"
Can be embiggened.
I cannot begin to express my not-entirely-rational loathing of Kodak Disc cameras. If we had to kill film entirely to get rid of these things, well, sometimes you have to burn the village to save it.

*You know what I hate?


Saturday, February 21, 2015

More Film and No Filter

Encouraging news indeed from Ilford:
"2014 has seen a growth in the volumes of film and paper sold around the world, which has been very encouraging."
Just picked up a couple rolls of  DELTA 3200 while I was out and about yesterday, myself, actually.

Went looking for filters at the local camera store... (now there's a dwindling species) ...out in Carmel around lunch time. Conversation went thusly:
Young Neckbearded Salesman: "May I help you?"

Me: "I'm looking for filters..."

YNS: "Great! I've got good ones over here and cheap ones* over here."

Me: "What I'm looking for are color filters for black and white film photography, orange and yellow, maybe red..."

YNS: "Oh. Uh... I don't know if we have anything like... what size?"

Me: "Well, 52mm and... 60mm?"

YNS: "60mm?"

Me: "I'm pretty sure." *pulls Leica R4 out of bag and double checks* "Yeah, 60mm."

YNS: *looking at film camera as though it could attack at any moment* "Hang on, let me check." *scurries off to consult with superior* "No, I'm afraid we don't."

Me: "That's cool, I'll just look around a bit, then."
Well, I tried to be a locavore, but wound up having to order from Amazon... except the 60mm filter, that had to come from KEH.

Sometimes, at gun shops where I used to work, inventory would run a little low. Gunsmithing would need some rings to mount a scope, or ammunition in an off-beat caliber to test fire a gun, and we wouldn't have it in stock. The punch line then would be "Well, I guess I'll have to go to a gun store to get that."

Robert's didn't have my filter, so I had to go to a camera store to get it.

*Retail sales ProTip: You don't carry "cheap" stuff, kid. You have "more expensive" and "less expensive". Actually, my memory has him using the word "crappy", but I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. If it's "crappy", kid, why do y'all carry it in the first place?

I must have needed the sleep.

...and while I was sleeping, Bobbi went out and shoveled the walks, so I'll be dealing with free-floating guilt for the rest of the day.

Plus, I haven't blogged, so more free-floating guilt.

So... Hey, how about that weather! Sure is a lot of it lately, no?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Seen around Broad Ripple...

Nikon EM, Kodak BW400CN
Broad Ripple icon Hedlund's Hardware, opened as a general store and filling station on the corner of 62nd and Keystone back in 1935. Sometimes the signage runs to the eccentric.

Tone-deafness, thy name is Kishida...

Japanese Foreign Minister asserts that solution to ISIS problem involves, and I quote, "co-prosperity".

No word whether Angel Merkel's government has announced a "final solution" to the ISIS crisis.

Automotif LXVI...

Canon T50, Kodak BW400CN
That was the cheapest tankful of gas I've put in the Zed Drei since I started writing this blog nearly ten years ago.

I need to get out and get some shopping done before the snow hits tonight. In addition to the mandatory French toast fixin's one must buy whenever frozen precip is in the forecast, I have one other errand to run. As this picture makes painfully clear, I'm in desperate need of a few sizes of orange and yellow filters...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm going to try this line.

From the squishy internationalist organ Foreign Policy comes this zinger:
"Ever since the initial bargain in the 1950s between post-Nazi West Germany and its wartime victims, European integration has been built on compromise. So there is huge pressure on Greece’s new Syriza government to be “good Europeans” and compromise on their demands for debt justice from their European partners — also known as creditors. But sometimes compromise is the wrong course of action. Sometimes you need to take a stand."
I'm going to have to try that one! I'm going to go to a really expensive restaurant, treat myself to all the good stuff on the menu, and when the waiter brings the check, I'm going to demand debt justice! Sometimes you need to take a stand! Paying the tab is the wrong course of action!

What is this dude smoking? Primo Coloradan hydroponic rolled up in pages torn from Das Kapital?

I can quit any time I want to. Really.

Hey, look what some guy in a brown outfit left on the front porch!

I know, I know: "Admitting you have a problem is the first step..."

Eye In The Sky...

Via email, a satellite's-eye view of the Syrian civil war in Aleppo. Much to look at and ponder, there.

QotD: Spitting In The Wind Edition...

From a post by Bobbi on her lack of recent political content:
"I still pay attention to politics but it's like looking at car wrecks: sure, you do it, and you'd help if you could; but you don't go talking about it much."

Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb...

Laws only stop the law-abiding.

Ban guns... and I mean actually come up with some magic ray that you can sweep back and forth across this country that would cause all the hundreds of millions of guns not in police or military armories to magically vanish... and the only people really affected would be the sort of upstanding citizens who only wanted to use firearms for lawful purposes such as target shooting, hunting, and self-defense.

People who need guns for bank-robbin' or government-topplin' will always find a way to get their hands on the hardware to do the deed. And if all guns are illegal, you may as well make the scary ones. If you're going to prison, it might as well be for a Sten gun as for a single-shot .22LR.

Besides, if this can be made in the jungles of the Philippines in the early 20th Century, imagine what could be turned out in 21st Century America, where tabletop lathes are common and serious hobbyists have CNC machines?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


It's how cold out there?

There goes my motivation. I'm going to do a load of dishes and and a load of laundry, as much to generate some waste heat in the house as anything else, and then I'm curling up with a book.

Automotif LXV...

1974 Chevrolet Laguna S-3.
This was how the muscle car era ended, not with a bang, but a purple whimper. In 1974 this was what replaced the Chevelle SS. The '74 Pontiac GTO had been reduced to a decal 'n' hood scoop package on Pontiac's version of the Nova, and the Ford Mustang II was essentially a tarted-up version of the Pinto platform.

Gas prices, insurance rates, and government safety and emissions regulations did to fun cars what the Visigoths did to Rome, and it would be a decade and more before the enlightenment of computerized engine controls led us to surpass the performance of yore. If you're much under 40, you fortunately missed out on a dark interregnum when the fast cars were all in the past.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Good news, everyone!

The electrical tape on the clear film window seems to have taken care of the minor light leak on the Leica.

Why are people so wrong and dumb? Part 547,951

Overheard on the Internet...

Elsewhere on the internet a discussion about the Interstate Commerce clause leads to understandable frustration and annoyance:
Malamute: "All this complicated stuff makes me want to go live in a log cabin in the mountains,..... Wait, I already do."

Me: "Does living in a cabin in the mountains reduce your desire to travel to other states and spend money there, Mr. Filburn?"
The Interstate Commerce clause is Congress's bigger hammer; the clause for the cause of unlimited government.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Watch Dreadnought and Strega, a heavily modified Hawker Sea Fury and a P-51 Mustang, do their thing in this video.

When Strega's pilot gives it the throttle on the takeoff roll, look how light the plane suddenly gets on the mains. Horsepower numbers are fairly closely guarded in the racing world, but Strega's built-to-the-hilt racing motor is probably churning out more than 3,800 hp, well over double what a stock Rolls Royce Merlin puts out.

Meanwhile, watch when Dreadnought's tail wheel comes up off the ground and the tail kicks to the right a little, despite the noticeable amount of rudder the pilot's got dialed in to keep it going straight.

Instead of its original 18-cylinder twin-row Bristol Centaurus radial, Dreadnought has a 71+ liter four-row Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major. Boasting more cubic inches than a grave, the R-4360 in Dreadnought bears about as much resemblance to its original form as a transport plane & bomber engine as the motor in Dale Jr's car does to the lump in a taxicab. The Centaurus had ~2,500hp, and a stock R-4360 had more like 3,500; Dreadnought's powerplant is presumed to put out comfortably more than 4,000.

That sound, though... I'll be in my bunk.


One thing that I'd completely forgotten about in my years of digital photography was the anticipation of waiting to see what comes out on the roll.

I don't necessarily mean the goofy lomography talk of "Ooh! It's a surprise!" I know what I saw through the viewfinder, I was pretty sure on the exposure, and I'm taking a picture with a decent SLR and not a plastic toy camera* so I'm just waiting to see if it looked as good on film as it did in my mind's eye when I popped the shutter.

Sometimes it will be a bit of a surprise, though. Two of the rolls at The Darkroom right now are my first rolls through old cameras, a Canon A1 and a Canon T50, and one was through the Leica R4, which had a small light leak that I hope I fixed with the field expedient solution of some black electrical tape over the clear plastic film window in the camera's back. Those are more of a crap shoot than the Nikon EM, a known good camera through which I've put a couple rolls already.

*Although lor' bless those hipsters and their plastic toy cameras, because they may have saved film photography.


Normally snowy day driving in the Zed Drei is a matter of skating a couple blocks with the car hip-faking from side to side and the traction control light spending more time on than off until I get to a main street like College Avenue. From there, everything is hunky dory because the city keeps the local arteries (in my neighborhood, that would be 62nd/Broad Ripple Ave, Kessler, College, Keystone, and 54th) pretty well salted and plowed.

Unfortunately, apparently the city didn't think that the snow was going to get this far north, and so even College Avenue was snow-covered. I gave my running errands plan up for a bad idea and turned around and came home. I really need to get the Subie fixed to keep the snow away.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How wrong is it? It's so wrong that...

This is so wrong that the nope from its wrongness will take thousands of years to reach the earth:

That interviewer was a model of composure. I'd have started throwing stuff at the dude.

I hate people.

So, the BATFEIEIO's announcement has had the two most predictable results:
  1. Gun owners, being easily-panicked herd animals, hoovered the shelves of M855 5.56 ammo. When Jasper or Cletus realized they'd arrived at the gun store thirty seconds too late to participate in the feeding frenzy, they filled their cart with whatever other kind of 5.56 was in stock, sending ripples all the way up the stream. We've been over this before, people; unless you just started shooting in the last year, you've got nobody to blame but yourself if you didn't already have ammo.

  2. Gun owners, being a pack of conspiracy-theory-lovin' flat earthers, are launching wild claims that this BATFEIEIO rule change was somehow engineered by the ammo selling faction of the Bilderbergers or the Gnomes of Zurich as a plot to drive up ammo prices. Next will come the cries of "GOUGING!" because gun owners, while waving flags and claiming to venerate conservative principles, are actually populists with economic views slightly to the left of Trotsky's.
Although we've been over this before, it's apparently worth going over again: If you are a regular shooter, you should know roughly what your monthly ammunition consumption is. If you keep that amount of ammo* times six on hand, and replace it as it gets used, then ammo panics are non-events for you unless they run longer than six months.

*Or components, if you reload.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dirty pool.

For a long time, the ATF's interpretation of the armor-piercing handgun ammunition ban specifically exempted a pair of cartridges: 5.56mm M855 "green tip" and .30-'06 M2 "black tip". A proposed new regulation will change this, putting a stop to the commercial sale of M855 ball, currently the best source of cheap ammo to keep the AR-pattern rifles of America running. The new regulation will allow only:
Category I: .22 Caliber Projectiles
A .22 caliber projectile that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) will be considered to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile weighs 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.

Category II: All Other Caliber Projectiles
Except as provided in Category I (.22 caliber rimfire), projectiles that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition will be presumed to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile is loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun. ATF nevertheless retains the discretion to deny any application for a “sporting purposes” exemption if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for such purposes.
Italics mine. Please, Ohio Ordnance, do not go making any BAR "pistols" right now.

There are instructions at this linked article on how to leave a comment between now and 3/15/15, which is when the comment period for the proposed new regulation ends. Please comment.

However, please do not bother to comment if you cannot express your thoughts clearly and in a well-reasoned, somewhat spell-checked fashion. "OBMA MUSLIM FUKKR MOLAN LEBE! Come n get em! SHALL NOT BE ENFRINGED, MF'ER!" is unlikely to impress (or scare) anybody.

As the great Jewish bandito warrior poet spoke from his bathtub, "When it's time to shoot, shoot; don't talk." The corollary to that is "When it's time to talk, talk; don't shoot your mouth off."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Recycled words...

I spent a bunch of my word output this morning elsewhere, so I'll recycle it here while I look for something to make fun of. The topic was "gun school for people who you know won't go to gun school".

Someone had brought up that John Farnam teaches students a thing he calls "the zipper". This is where the student draws and cranks off a couple rounds unsighted as he's bringing the pistol up to eye level, on the theory that these will hit the bad guy maybe in the jimmy and the belly button, or somewhere at any rate, plus you're going to be panicking anyway. To which I replied:
I dunno.
Ideally, if a loved one came to me and said "Okay, I'm only going to take one gun class for the rest of my life, and you get to pick it," I'd probably send them off to MAG-40. It's not really all that much of a shooting course*, per se, but they'll leave confident that they can pass a police-style qualification course and have a pretty good grounding in the whys, wherefores, legalities, and ramifications of busting caps in fools.

If they're not going to take a multi-day class, I saw Tom Givens do a one-day course for a bunch of gun bloggers that looked like it gave a solid grounding in the fundamentals, including how to draw from the holster without shooting your foot off and a bit of shooting from retention, and was certainly worth a recommendation. I don't know if that's a regular offering of his or a Reader's Digest Condensed Version of a two-day class, though.

If they're not going to commit to even that, I'd rather just spend a couple hours making sure that they know how to safely handle, load, and unload a firearm, and then give them the confidence that they can, whenever they want to, pick up a gun and put a bullet in an eight-inch circle twenty-one feet away. One-on-one, or at least in a small class, it has been my observation that this can usually be done with all but the most physically inept individuals. I wouldn't even refer to the target as a "bad guy" or anything like that; I'd just want them walking away with the confidence that they can pick up a gun and hit what they want to hit.

It seems like, when you start introducing stuff like "the zipper", you are front-loading this person's mind with the expectation that they're gonna go all to pieces and squeeze off rounds at the bad guy without being able to aim.
NOTE: Deletions indicate apparently incorrect assumptions on my part, based on discussion elsewhere.

*Given the audience at that forum. If you haven't been to formal gun school that involved drawing from the holster and shooting from as far as 15 yards, then it's a hell of a good shooting course. If you're even a casual USPSA/IDPA competitor, it's unlikely you'll find yourself struggling to keep up, though, and that's as it should be in an entry-level class.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Good job, IMPD.

Metro Police Officer Chris Wilburn had to think quickly on his feet. A man driving a pickup truck pulled up to police headquarters and suddenly jumped from behind the wheel in a panic - and carrying a handgun.

"He happened to have it in his hand. Obviously he was very excited when the officer initially encountered him," said Lt. Richard Little.

Witness Kadafie Love says the driver held the gun out of the truck's window as officers approached.
"He's like, 'I'm showing you my gun'," Love said.
That had every ingredient needed to wind up with the driver of the truck getting shot, and I would not have faulted the cops for doing so. I think if someone rolled up on me in a bullet-riddled pickup truck, yelling at me and waving a gun out the window... well, I don't know exactly what I'd do, but "shooting him before he shot me" would very likely be somewhere near the top of the option list.

Fortunately for the pickup truck driver, Officer Wilburn thinks fast on his feet, and the driver remains in an un-shot condition. I know I give our city's police department a ration of crap every time one of their guys goes playing an ethanol-fueled game of bumper cars, but I gotta give credit where it's due, too. Well played, IMPD.

Turn of phrase...

"Our enlightened societies have been struck by an autoimmune disease. Two fundamental virtues of the West, doubt and conscience, are turning against their inventors."
I had to scroll up and double check that I was, in fact, reading the New York Times. He got back to safe, tepid ground again pretty quickly, though. 

Angela Merkel makes me bite my tongue an awful lot, because every time a German chancellor wants to talk about violence not settling things, I want to blurt "It's sure settled y'all's hash a couple times, hasn't it?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

From elsewhere...

"Commenting on a blog to say you don't do social media is like telling the stewardess at 35,000 feet that you won't fly on airplanes."


So the squishy internationalists at Foreign Policy magazine manage to get themselves worked into a lather at the rather dismal treatment of women by the radical Islamist groups running roughshod over in the blank spots on the map these days:
Yazidis who have escaped from the Islamic State have told harrowing stories of women and girls being traded among fighters, forcibly “married,” forced to convert, and repeatedly raped. These horrific mass violations are mirrored in the accounts of Nigerian girls who fled from Boko Haram, in the tales of Somali women liberated from the rule of al-Shabab, and in descriptions of life under the Islamist group Ansar al-Din in northern Mali.
Mobilize the hashtag army! Something must be done said about this! Civilization in peril; women and minorities hardest hit!

In a cart-before-the-horse bit of antilogic, the thrust of the article is that advancing legal equality between the sexes will somehow roll back fundamentalist Islam, rather than the reverse.

Given the track record of radical Islamist terrorist groups in the Middle East, the title blurb linking to the article in my email from Foreign Policy was especially unfortunate. It was:
Well, yeah, the terrorists have been doing that for a while now, Sparky, but thanks for the reminder.

I'm reminded of the joke that all the people running around with "Free Tibet!" stickers on their cars would have been horrified if  Dubya had woken up one morning and decided to send the 82nd Airborne to actually, you know, free Tibet. "I didn't mean like that!"

Meanwhile, while the Foreign Policy writers are trying to mobilize the IndigNation Studies crew, ISIS's recruiting pitch continues to be "Come play GTA: Middle East for real! If you get too stressed, you can always take R&R back in your dole-funded flat in Brussels or London.

Rise of the Machines...

First comes the news that your top-of-the-line Samsung "smart TV" is a fully operational telescreen, with an on-board camera, microphone, and computer to process all that stuff...

Next thing you know, it's:
"Don't play that commercial, HAL."

"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cool contest...

Crimson Trace is having a photo contest in which the prize is an H und K VP9* with a CTC Railmaster green laser/light combo and a Bravo Concealment holster. Four runners-up get a red laser/white light Railmaster.

Get your shutterbug on.

*Given the dearth of offerings of Crimson Trace's signature product, the LaserGrip, for HK pistols, this is what one might call a slightly ironic choice of prize guns.


The press release doesn't actually read thusly:
"Cerb^h^h^h^h Freedom Group Remington Outdoors will no longer be using two separate rollmarks on the 1911-pattern pistols produced by the company."
But it could.

Para started out in the Eighties building wide-body 1911 frame kits that you could use to convert your existing 1911-pattern pistol into a 14-shooter, which was a great big deal at the time. They branched out into making complete guns and for a while in the '90s, their compact P-12.45 enjoyed brief popularity when Jan Libourel couldn't go three paragraphs without mentioning it in the gun rags.

Their reputation for lax quality control had them constantly turning over new leaves, one of which leaf-turnings I participated in, but they kept returning to their old ways like a dog returning to its sick. A former classmate of Gunsmith Bob's got a gig at their TN service center and tales of the Sisyphean tasks faced by the 'smiths there were legion.

Over the years, Para kept coming up with clever innovations, with their weird pseudo-double-action LDA trigger and the fat, multi-part "Power eXtractor" that rendered later Paras unable to have extractor woes fixed by dropping in a Wilson Bulletproof. Coming up with innovations is fantastic, but not when it's done at the seeming expense of core competencies like drilling the holes in the frame square and in the right place.

Remington swears up and down that they've got the QC issues ironed out, and you'll still be able to buy stubby little LDA 10-shooter Nite Hawgs (with Power eXtractor!) but the Para name had become too much of an albatross to keep.

And so it goes.

Barnum Bullets

Was down at Elmore's in Greenwood yesterday morning. That was a gun store that makes my inner Retail Sales Manager smile. Well lit, well-stocked, and somebody asked if they could help me within minutes of me stepping in the door, but didn't hover when I replied that I was just there to put noseprints on the glass, mostly.

While there, I discovered that G2R Ammo had gotten even dumber while I wasn't looking. Now they have rifle ammo, too! Including the .300RIPOUT Trident. (And you know what "Trident" means, right? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Hey, Cletus! This must be what they used to shoot Bin Laden!)

Elmore's had a little pile of the stuff, boxes arranged and stacked by caliber, in one of the showcases, softly lit like a museum exhibit. Can't blame 'em for having it under lock and key, given the couple-buck-per-round tariff that G2R extracts from idiots, of which there is no shortage in my beloved hobby, apparently.

Check out this ad copy!
"As the bullet passes through soft tissue, only then does it expend its energy. It is the optimal performer all other designers aspire to be. This is the most adaptable, powerful, dynamic bullet ever created."
But is it critical? I like my dynamic bullets to also be critical, as well as tactical if possible, but I realize it's hard to get that many adjectives into anything smaller than a .451" projectile.

In related news, I've been thinking of getting my palms surgically attached to my face in order to head off possible repetitive stress injuries.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Fun Show find...

You don't run into many first-year production FN 1899s in the wild. Especially bargain-priced ones.

It's pitted and it was re-blued over the pits long enough ago that the re-blue is starting to brown. The grip panel facing the camera is an ugly repro but the one on the other side is original. It's all there and mechanically sound; a shooter and a representative example, if a little homely.

The price, on the other hand, was right. Especially for Browning's first commercially-produced self-loading pistol from the first year of production.

Post on the other blog forthcoming.

Sunday, February 08, 2015


Got home from the fun show today (more on that later) to find that Bobbi had gotten home from work and was headed back out the door. They have her working the weird quasi-graveyard shift this weekend and she was too tired to whip up something to eat when she got home and so was going to take advantage of being in restaurant heaven to go get food before bed.

"Do you want to come along to Zest?" she asked.

Did I ever.

Zest's trademark sausage-sausage gravy over biscuits (a half portion because that stuff is seriously stick-to-your-ribs filling) and the house take on the French 75, because I'd never had one and I was pretty tired myself and ready to wind down for the day.

We walked home, stopping by the little neighborhood antique shop and Locally Grown Gardens, even if it was just to browse. And then it was time for early-to-bed. Well, early to doze, at least; the cats need feedin' and whatnot...

Saturday, February 07, 2015

You have got to be kidding me.

From a post at Joe's on the dumb conference about "smart guns":
Judith Leftwich
Legal Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

When asked by moderator Dave Ross, “Is there anything wrong with letting the market decide?” Leftwich made it clear she supports mandates.
"Leftwitch"? Her name is "Leftwitch" for serious? That sounds like the name of President Hillary's Attorney General in some awful piece of wookie-suiter John Ross fanfic. To steal a line from P.J. O'Rourke, you would get drummed out of the Subtle Fiction Writer's Guild for hanging that moniker on an anti-gun woman lawyer in the worst self-published Kindle militia wankfest.

Maybe the guy in Freakonomics was right?

Friday, February 06, 2015

I need a lie-down...

I have no actual use in my life for a 4,500-lumen, two-pound flashlight with more cooling fins than a Harley-Davidson cylinder, especially when it carries an MSRP exactly twice what I paid for the used '74 Gran Torino coupe that was my first car...

...but damn if I don't get a bit of gadget lust just looking at this thing.

If you stood someplace dark enough, you could probably send Morse code to the crew of the ISS with that.

QotD: Come Back With A Warrant Edition

From an excellent post by my friend Matt:
Fellow peace officers, a search warrant is a very specific exception to rights held by our citizens. Take it seriously. Do it right. Even if you don't do them, know HOW to do them. If learning how is too much trouble, then go find other work, please. We've got this.
If you haven't already, go and read the whole thing.

Use #426,219...

Well, use #3 actually.

I have a Black Diamond Storm headlamp that I bought to take to that first Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun match, and since then I've also found a use for it while bicycling in the evenings, but last night I discovered a new use for it when I went outside to clear the walks and it was cold enough that the outside light on the back of the house had called in sick.

And a good thing, too, because this morning, when taking the trash out, it revealed a nice patch of ice that had formed on the walk in the dark shadows between the houses, where the direct sun never shines this time of year. I'm feeling pretty good about that now, because I'll bet a doctor's visit for a bad sprain runs more than I paid for the headlamp.

The Proud Tower

Clicking should make massively bigger.
Fascinating anthropomorphized map of Europe, circa 1900. If you're a history nerd, a Google image search on "fred w. rose serio comic map", sans quotes, is a gold mine. I was down this rabbit hole for an hour last night and I'm nowhere near done...

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Hey, look!

I get to write up a column of good news every month. You could read it every month! (Also, very smart people, from Claire Wolfe to Pat Rogers.)

Meanwhile, in Texas...

It's shaping up to be yet another good legislative session for Hoosier gun owners, in large part because we don't have to deal with arrant douchery like this.

Seriously, dude, please stay off my side.

Holding the line...

...although it's thankfully a pretty easy line to hold.

An Indiana state senator has introduced a bill that would add a training requirement to Indiana's handgun license, but it looks like it's going to die in committee like it did the last time he filed the same bill. Still, Hoosiers, contact your state senator and politely let them know that you are opposed to SB 48.
Kirk Freeman, director-at-large for the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association, said the bill would prevent people without any means of paying for training classes to practice a constitutional right.

"I don't think the law should discriminate against those that are economically disadvantaged," Freeman said. "We shouldn't create a hierarchy of who gets to exercise their constitutional right."
While there is some truth to the saying that all legislation is either about fence-building or rent-seeking, Indiana firearms instructor and lawyer Guy Relford went on the record as opposing the bill, too. Mad props to Guy for continuing to do the Lord's work.

While you're on the horn with your state senator, make sure to thank them for voting right on SB 433, which will strike down the state law banning the ownership of SBS's.

Actually, if I could say one thing to the whole internet in general...

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Hey, I recognize that byline!

Shooting Illustrated has a review of the very same pistol that is inside this box.

Cool video...

Slow-motion video of a DSLR's shutter at work, or "What happens if I point this 10,000fps video camera at this 1/8000-second camera shutter?"

Also contains good explanations of things like this particular photographic artifact which we've all seen:

This car did not actually have oval wheels and a forward-raked windscreen.

The Evil Party and the Stupid Party.

So, Chris Christie decided to weigh in on the vaccination thing and, not wanting to be out-wookie-suited by the RINO governor of New Jersey, Rand Paul played the full-on Jenny McCarthy dog whistle with the "I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines," quote. Oh, boy.

Now, leaving aside the meta argument of whether the state should have the power to do this thing, this is just some some astoundingly dumb politics. You could say that, this being the run-up to primary season, they have to craft their messages to play to the farthest out elements of the base. But if you hang out in that particular echo chamber all day long, you might be overestimating the size of that base, there, Pauline Kael:
Of the students who reported in Indiana last year, nearly 93 percent of kindergarten and and 99 percent of 6th graders were in compliance with the MMR. That translates to nearly 5,000 students who are not, putting them at greater risk if they are exposed, not only to contract measles but also to be a carrier.
Well, hell, assuming both mommy and daddy vote GOP and not Libertarian or Constitution or stay home out of principal, that's 10,000 votes you just locked up there, at the expense of handing your opponents the sound bites required to paint you as flat-earther looney tunes. Golf clap.

Here's a handy pop culture illustration of what just happened, with lines and labels and suchlike:

I don't mind seeing Christie torpedo himself, but dammit, I could vote for Rand with surprisingly little nose-holding if he doesn't keep trying to throw this game.

Monday, February 02, 2015


WeaponsMan links to a post that drops some truth bombs about the M14, a rifle which is for some reason revered by the gun nut community all out of proportion with its actual qualities as a weapon.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Internet Politics...

In comments to a post at Unc's, someone signing themselves as "Jeffersonian" wrote:
When I was a wee lad in gubmit class, the instructor informed us that even though the Soviet Union had elections the communist party selected all of the candidates.
Being a curious tyke I asked her who picked ours.

Chirp chirp.
I felt compelled to reply:
Being a curious tyke I asked her who picked ours.

Chirp chirp.

You could, but that would require getting involved, which is a lot like work.

Who’s your local GOP precinct chairperson?

Chirp chirp.

Not a very curious tyke at all, are you?
Now, if you're a conscientious objector to the whole concept of majoritarian rule or whatever, that's one thing and I can dig that, but to act like it's some hazy and impenetrable process that can't be figured out? That's moronic.

Look at the people who have figured it out! Used car salespeople and tuna canning magnates! Second-rate lawyers with MRS degrees! Knaves and poltroons! Jesus, it ain't rocket surgery.

You're not helping.

"See, lady, people like you are why people think BMW drivers are douchebags."

But, but, but...!

A staple of the SciFi genre in games and literature is having to go colonize some far-off planet because a huge asteroid is about to Chicxulub us again. Sierra On-Line's disastrous flop Outpost* would be a prime example.

Something that never occurred to me at the time was this: There's all this space infrastructure, right? The construction yard that built your colony ship, the fueling station in orbit around Jupiter, your huge colony ship itself... And you're going to head off into the great unknown to colonize an inhospitable rock and hopefully eventually terraform it? 

Hey, I know an Earth-like planet that would be super easy to terraform: That one that just got hit by an asteroid. How about we turn around and land back home? Sure, civilization's been wiped out by tidal waves, earthquakes, and firestorms, but it's still more Earth-like than an airless rock in orbit around Zeta Reticuli.

I was reminded that there was some hand-waving about further impacts being expected in order to obviate this possibility. If only we had a huge spaceship that could be used to nudge them off course... Oh, wait, we sent it to Zeta Reticuli.

*I bought a CD-ROM drive, switched to Windows 3.11 from DOS, and added another two sticks of RAM just to run that dog. Imagine my chagrin.